Thursday, April 25, 2013

George W. Bush Presidential Library

Today marks the grand unveiling of the "W" presidential library or as I'd prefer to call it "G-Dubs big 'ol bunch of books."

It will be located on the Southern Methodist campus (how appropriate) in Dallas.  In keeping with the philosophy that everything is bigger and better in Texas, this sounds 'bout write.  Rest assured, it will be the biggest and the best...  assuming you define superiority in terms of that which is pricey and humongous (250 million bucks, 25 acres, 200,000+ square feet).

I've been following the coverage.  The library's main theme will revolve around "decision making."  Not a bad focus considering the fact that 9/11 certainly changed the world.  There's a statue of his pet dog Barney, the bullhorn from ground zero in Manhattan, a mammoth steel beam from one of the World Trade Centers.  What's missing are all the key figures of the administration (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz - basically the architects of the Iraq war).  And if you know me, you know that I think the invasion and occupation of Iraq was the worst fundamental policy decision in the history of the United States... most definitely in my lifetime and most certainly the 21st century.  I know... I know... the worst is Solendra.

During the Iraq War, Bush made a visit to our decaying town.  I felt inspired so I wrote this poem and stuck it on every god forsaken car window in all of downtown Wheeling.

It's interesting... reflecting back on these words.

I refuse to take any politician seriously (any Democrat or Republican who cast a vote in favor of the war), if they're unwilling to utter the words, "in retrospect, I think my vote was a mistake."  Why can't the media ask this most basic question to all the current players?  I'm not talking about John McCain or Lindsay Graham or the imbecile Palin.  I'm talking about John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, our current and former Secretary of States.  Call me naive, but wouldn't this be a good question by which to judge their decision making capabilities?  After all, these are the people who run the country.  Well, at least they think they're in charge.  More than me, I suppose.

Most people think I have this seething hatred of George W. Bush.  Not true at all.  In fact, he seems like a pleasant, likeable dude.  The kind of guy I'd like to have a beer with.

What I've always questioned is whether "the office of the presidency" was just too damn big for his britches.  I don't think he ever comprehended the magnitude of his words, the real-world impact of his policies.  I don't think he grasped an appreciation of history, a basic understanding of how the world works (beyond the lone star state).  I think he saw things through a very narrow perspective, an incredibly simplistic prism.  He didn't analyze, he delegated - a very dangerous "style of leadership" following 9/11.  But did I "hate" him as a person.  Absolutely not.

I think way too many people, especially in the age of facebook, assign notions of love and hate far too easily.  I despise this leader's drone policy or drug policy or immigration policy or stance on universal health care... therefore, I must HATE him/her.  That's the only way people will know where I stand on these critical issues.  It's far too difficult to have a rational debate.  I don't have the time or the necessary mental energy or acuity to engage in reasonable discourse.  It's much easier to copy and paste this picture of Mitt Romney emanating from a marble toilet w/ pure gold fixtures.  Caption reading "Mitt is... the Shit."  I haven't seen it, but I'm sure it exists.

I guess that's what I'm getting at.  I personally do not loathe George W. Bush.  I just detested his over-simplification of the major issues.  The "we must fight them there, so we don't fight them here."  The "they hate us because they hate our freedom."  And the absolute worst, "the people of Iraq will welcome us as liberators."  For me, that one was the tipping point.  I was always skeptical of the decision to invade Iraq, but when I heard that phrase, I absolutely lost it.  I may not know shit, but I've always known one thing... NOBODY LIKES IT WHEN SOMEONE BOMBS THEIR COUNTRY.

So my main beef with W is this...  the presidency was just beyond his grasp.  The office was simply too big for him.  When I look at Obama, Clinton, Bush Sr. and Reagan (maybe Carter to a lesser extent), I never come away with that impression.  They all seemed well suited to handle the awesome power of the presidency.  They all understood the scope and magnitude.  With W, I got the impression that he ran for the office mostly because he thought he could win it.  Turns out he was write.  Not once, but twice.

And if I remember correctly, he was supposed to be the "education president."  Turns out, he ended up being a "wartime president."  So while they're doing the dedication, I just thought I'd right down my thoughts.  Offer my two sense, if you will.  After all, it's a big fucking library.


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